“After seven years of crisis that exposed Europe’s weaknesses and created a very negative condition for my country, today we can say with certainty that the country is turning a page,” Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said in his address at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Centre (SNFCC) on Friday.
The Greek premier and visiting French President Emmanuel Macron were at the SNFCC on Friday for a series of meetings with Greek and French business people.
Referring to the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, Tsipras said that it is symbolised a return to normality for Greece and the Greek economy, since the marvellous building now housing Greece’s National Opera and National Library was built in the years of crisis and constitutes an exceptional example of harmonious cooperation between the private and public sector. It also proved that it was possible to carry out major projects in the country that finish on time and are used in the most beneficial way for society, he added.
On the issue of unemployment, Tsipras said that it has dropped to 22.1 percent, a percentage, however, that is not acceptable for an EU and Eurozone member-state.
The first priority, according to the prime minister, was to slow down and reverse the brain drain and the emigration of highly-skilled young Greeks abroad. This would happen by changing the business environment, through investments and completing the third programme “so that it is the last,” he said.
The government is determined to proceed with changes that will help attract investments and improve the business climate, Tsipras said and, in this contect, urged the business community to speak up. The government wanted to hear from business people, he said, and have them reply to two basic questions: “For those that already investing in Greece, what are the problems that they face; and for those that have not invested yet, what are their reasons that make them hesitate?”
Tsipras said that attracting investments is the government’s main target in its efforts to lead the country out of the crisis and be done with bailout programmes in August 2018. He said that he will head a task force that will be able, if needed, to examine important investments and facilitate efforts to encourage strong investing activity that will give a boost to the Greek economy, so it can overcome the crisis.
“Greece now presents a real opportunity, following such a huge reform effort” stated Tsipras, noting that no other European country has carried out such extensive reforms in such a short time.
The Greek premier urged French entrepreneurs to look at Greece as a significant and attractive investment destination, adding that “you will not regret your choice.”